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Guidance notes for those

supporting the events of

the Papal Visit
Credit: M.Mazur

Similar in terms of size, the liturgies celebrated

by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI are however,
distinct from concerts, sporting events or other large
gatherings. They have a unique religious nature and
importance in the life of the Catholic Church.
Bellahouston Park, Cofton Park,
Westminster Cathedral

The Mass was instituted by Jesus Christ at the

Last Supper. It is a memorial of the sacrifice of
Christ’s death and a celebration of his resurrection
from the dead. During the Mass, Catholics believe
that the bread and wine, offered in thanksgiving
to God the Father, become the Body and Blood of
Jesus Christ. When the Pope raises the Body of
Christ (in the form of bread, often referred to as
the Host) and the Chalice containing the Blood of
Christ (in the form of wine) – it
is a moment of intense devotion
and prayer known as the
Consecration. The distribution
of Holy Communion (the giving
of Christ’s Body and Blood to the
faithful) takes place towards the
end of the Mass. Other parts of
the Mass include hymns, prayers
and readings from the Bible.
Cofton Park

The Mass at Cofton Park will be unique as it will include

the Beatification of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal
Newman. Beatification is the third of four steps in
recognising an individual as a Saint and indicates the
belief that they may intercede on behalf of those who
pray to them. This will be the first Beatification over
which Pope Benedict XVI has presided, and so will be
a special occasion for Catholicism as whole. Cardinal
Newman is a particularly significant figure for Catholics
in the UK and his teachings have had a tremendous
effect within the Catholic Church and for all Christians,
both here and abroad.

Credit: M.Mazur
Hyde Park

The Celebration at Hyde Park will be a Prayer Vigil

rather than a Mass. At the heart of the Vigil will
be the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and
Benediction. The ‘Blessed Sacrament’ is the name
given to the Body of Christ (in the form of bread)
that has already been consecrated (see above) and
which is reserved for those who are
sick or dying or for reverence and
worship. The Blessed Sacrament
(for the Vigil, a special large round
Host will have been consecrated)
is enshrined in a vessel known as a
Monstrance, before which prayers
are said (Exposition). Those
present are blessed by the Lord Jesus
Christ, present in the Blessed Sacrament,
as the Pope raises the Monstrance and
makes the sign of the cross with it over
the faithful (Benediction).
Right: A Monstrance
Key Considerations
The Pope is the leader of the worldwide Catholic
Church and the latest successor in an unbroken line
stretching back to St. Peter. Being in the presence
of the Pope and hearing him speak is a momentous
occasion for Catholics, and something which many
may only experience once in their lives.
Catholics are travelling to these liturgical events as
Pilgrims, carrying out an act of religious devotion;
not as customers to see a show.

Signs of Reverence for Catholics

As the Pope passes he often makes the sign of the
cross over people – many will respond by blessing
themselves (making the sign of the cross) in return.
People will often kneel to pray during the Consecration
and during Exposition and Benediction.
Catholics are used to queuing in a processional
manner during the distribution of Holy Communion.
Only Catholics should receive Holy Communion, and
all others are welcome to receive a blessing during
the distribution of Holy Communion. Those wishing
to do this should approach the Priest or Minister with
their arms crossed diagonally across their chest.

Personal Guidelines
Given the unique nature of these liturgical events,
all those on site have an opportunity to contribute
positively to the ‘feel’ of the gatherings. To help this
we offer the following guidance which we would
really appreciate all giving consideration too:
 s a general rule noise and movement should be
kept to a minimum throughout the Masses and the
Vigil. Essential conversation should be whispered,
mobile phones should be switched to silent and
phones or radios should be used away from the
main body of worshippers.
• During the Consecration all those present must
stop whatever they are doing and stand in silence
(exactly as they would during the two minute
silence on Remembrance Day). No cameras,
mobile phones or radios may be used during
this time except in serious emergencies.
• During Mass and Benediction, food or drink
(including chewing gum) must not be consumed.
Smoking is not permitted during these Celebrations.
We thank you for this and for all you will do to make
these events a success.

These are highly prestigious occasions and appropriate
attire should be worn; dress uniform is suitable.
Both women and men should avoid wearing shorts;
men should remove non-essential headwear.
Some Helpful Terms
Terms for Catholic events Similar Terms often used

Congregation Audience, Crowd

Liturgy, Celebration,
Event, Show, Gig
Mass, Benediction

Pilgrim Pass Ticket

Enjoyable, Fun,
Spiritual, Uplifting
Blessed Sacrament, Holy
Bread and Wine

Distribution (of Holy Communion) Serving, Giving out

Liturgists Performers, Artists

Pope/Holy Father, Bishops, Priests

Headline Act(s)
(or collectively ‘Concelebrants’)

Altar Table

Sanctuary Stage

Sacristy Backstage

If reading these notes has presented any questions please

do not hesitate to e-mail
or call 020 7901 4848